comma/not before 'like' [meaning?, preposition]: was pretty, like a


Does the meaning of the sentence below change by adding a comma? If so, could someone explain the grammar. All I know is that in the second sentence the phrase "like a rockstar" would be considered a nonessential part of the clause. Does the punctuation influence the meaning of the sentence in any way?

"She was pretty like a rockstar."

"She was pretty, like a rockstar."
  • They seem slightly different to me. ("Rock star" is two words, I believe, unless you're talking about the product brand name.)

    I see the first one as clearly meaning "She was pretty in the same way a rock star is pretty."

    The second one could mean she was pretty and there was something about her that reminded you of a rock star.
    I think that the average reader wouldn't see any difference, but it could be argued that the comma changes the meaning:

    "She was pretty like a rock star" = She was pretty in the particular way that rock stars are pretty.

    "She was pretty, like a rock star" = Rock stars are pretty; she was pretty, so she looked llike a rock star.

    "Rock star", two words.